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Follow along as biologists track Whooping Cranes at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Using satellite GPS technology the team hopes to help protect this endangered species.
For Texas Game Wardens patrolling the water, drowning is a very real danger. We go underwater with some game wardens as they learn how they respond to aggressors on the water, rescue people from drowning and stay afloat wearing over 20 pounds of gear.
The Leopold Conservation Award winner for the Texas Parks and Wildlife 2014 Lone Star Land Steward awards is the Winston 8 Ranch in Nacogdoches County, Texas, managed by Simon Winston. The Winston's have worked hard to show that you can manage east Texas piney woods for the lumber business and for wildlife.
Pedernales State Park is no different than any other park – too much stuff to do and not enough people to do it. But thanks to a group of volunteers, the work gets done and park visitors are the ones who benefit. You’ll meet some of these “park helpers”, and find out why they are so incredibly enthusiastic about doing work that can at times be a little mundane.
Relax on a rainy day at Caddo Lake.
A freshwater fish older than the dinosaur is being returned to Caddo Lake in a grand experiment. Can restored water flows bring back a breeding population of paddlefish? A broad coalition of partners, from non-profits to landowners and government agencies, is working to answer this question.
Meet Sky Lewey, a Nueces River rancher who takes care of her land and protects the wider watershed by reaching out to her neighbors. In her job with the Nueces River Authority, and on the Open V Ranch near Uvalde, this land steward helps keep a precious resource healthy.
Thanks to modern technology (and some old fashioned muscle), an important piece of Texas history is being preserved. At the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, archeologists have discovered artifacts from the 1836 Battle for Texas Independence. From bayonets to belt buckles, these new-found treasures will help detail the events of the day, all in an effort to better tell the story of how Texas came to be.
Take a ride on the bike trails at Austin’s McKinney Falls State Park.
One of the top three sport fish in Texas, more and more fishermen now set their sights on the southern flounder. In fact, it’s become so popular that fish hatcheries have started stocking flounder in Texas bays. We take a closer look at what it takes to catch these fish and how the species is holding up.
Way out in West Texas, it's all about water. Ben and Betty Tanksley have pioneered some innovative water capturing techniques to create an oasis in the desert on their ranch in Brewster County, Texas. Bringing water to their ranch has benefited both the cattle and the local wildlife.
State parks aren’t just for retirees in RV’s. Outdoor adventure clubs are gaining popularity around the state. See how these clubs are bringing together all kinds of folks with an active interest in the outdoors.
Early morning at Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area near Palestine, Texas.
For generations, Texans grew up seeing Texas Horned Lizards throughout much of the state. Today the threatened lizards are common only in certain spots, but research at the Muse Wildlife Management Area is investigating how lizards fare and where they go when they are relocated to restored habitat.
There’s a crisp bite in the air on a cool December morning. The mist covers the pond, as pintails fly overhead. It’s duck hunting season. Join us as we follow two boys as part of a special hunt just for youngsters.
Named after a small town in England, the Hillingdon Ranch is a family heritage spanning six generations. Four families primarily represent most of the 13,000 acres but many cousins own a slice. Whether on the ranch or off, the Giles, Langfords, Leslies and Pasztors continue to serve and protect the land from which they came.
Nestled on the banks of the Brazos River, Stephen F. Austin State Park provides the opportunity to get up close to nature. Located just 30 minutes from the outskirts of Houston, this quiet and peaceful park is a nice escape from the busy city life with activities including picnicking, camping, fishing, hiking and nature and historical tours.
Watch the moonset where bison roam, at Caprock Canyon State Park.
An animal that was almost wiped out due to unregulated hunting, and loss of habitat, the black bear is slowly making its way back to the bottomland forests along the states eastern border. Now a team of bear trackers from Stephen F. Austin State University are on the lookout. It’s a unique bear study that sends the team into some of the most remote habitat found in the state.
Many folks find turtles crossing busy roads and wonder “What’s the right thing to do?” State Herpetologist Andy Gluesenkamp helps answer that question.
Way, way, way up in the Texas Panhandle lies Palo Duro, the second largest canyon in the country (guess what’s first?). With its truly breathtaking scenery, Palo Duro is also one of our most popular parks. On this weekend, hundreds of cyclists come to ride 24 hours in the canyon, all in memoriam to friends or family members lost to cancer.
We know a lot about the major springs in Texas, but very little about the estimated 3500 scattered around the state. Biologists Chad Norris and Janet Nelson trek to remote spring sites gathering a variety of information that will provide a greater understanding of one of our most important sources of freshwater.
It can be difficult to get all of your ducks in a row. But at Hornsby Bend in Austin, sometimes they line up all by themselves.
Not only are largemouth bass the most popular game fish in Texas, but they seem to get bigger every year. The Micropterus salmoides hasn’t flourished on its own. It’s taken a lot of research and work to get bass where they are today.
In Parker County just outside Fort Worth you'll find Bear Creek Ranch. The 2014 Lone Star Land Steward winner for the Cross Timbers and Prairies Region.
Close to the Red River in both location and hue, this North Texas park offers family fun and fine fishing.
Austin is well-known for the millions of Mexican free-tailed bats that live under the city’s bridges and overpasses. These bats were once considered a nuisance. But thanks to a group called Bat Conservation International, Texans have become mindful of this species’ vital role in the control of insects.
Stick your head underwater to see some of the endangered desert spring fish at Balmorhea State Park.
The whistle blows, and the championship battle is underway. We’re not talking about Texas high school football, it’s the finals for high school fishing. The hottest sport to hit the south these days isn’t on the field, it’s in the water. Check out a profile on high school fishing.
Check out a snake that often times gets a bat rap, State herpetologist Andy Gluesenkamp introduces you to the Texas Rat Snake.
At Eisenhower State Park it’s all about the water. Campsites sit high on the bluffs overlooking Lake Texoma. Boaters flock to the park’s marina and ramps. Swimmers enjoy lake access by land and by boat. Even hikers eventually end up taking a cool dip in the refreshing waters that make this park special.
Working guns, artillery, running tanks and an operational flamethrower make the Second World War come alive at the Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site. These sights and sounds bring back memories of the war for observers in poignant and painful ways.
Early morning on Matagorda Bay is a magical and beautiful time.
A coalition of partners has raised nearly $38 million dollars to purchase 17,000 acres of one of the largest remaining unspoiled tracts of coastal prairie in the state. The Powderhorn Ranch in Calhoun County is expected to become a future state park and wildlife management area for the people of Texas.
Sitting around the campfire is one of the best things about going camping. Park Interpreter Katie Raney has some tips for getting your campfire going safely.
Kids at Texas A&M's SeaCamp solve mysteries using biology, chemistry, and physics. Their lab experiences are paralleled with the work done in the "real world" by TPWD's Forensics group in San Marcos.
Government Canyon State Natural Area has grown out of an unprecedented partnership of groups rallying to preserve a unique resource. Its pristine Hill Country land helps protect the aquifer below it, making it all the more important to nearby San Antonio.
The Texas Bighorn Society and Texas Parks and Wildlife celebrate finishing the construction of two guzzlers (above-ground rainwater catchments that provide water for wildlife) with a feast. What’s on the menu? Yard birds, beans, and a good time.
Jim Daniels is a young Game Warden who turned a tragedy from his youth into a career helping people. We’ll follow him patrolling the sparsely populated counties north of Abilene.
White limestone bluffs and dense trees surround Cedar Lake, the centerpiece of Cleburne State Park. The small lake is just right for canoeing, swimming and fishing. Located southwest of Fort Worth, Cleburne is an ideal retreat from city life.
Here in Texas, the Lesser Prairie Chicken’s numbers have declined as its’ historic range has dwindled to almost nothing. Since most of these birds live on private lands, wildlife biologists are counting on private landowners to help restore the habitat, and hopefully save the bird.
View some interesting flora at the Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve.
Desert Bighorn Sheep used to roam freely in west Texas. By 1950 they had been wiped out by indiscriminate shooting and diseases spread by domestic sheep. During the 1960’s and 70’s TPWD began to restore the population of desert bighorns to west Texas. The program has been such a success and the population has grown to such numbers that in 2011 about 30 desert bighorns were released on public land at Big Bend Ranch State Park. For the first time since 1950 anyone willing to make a hike in the desert has the chance again of spotting one of these majestic animals in its natural environment.
Just minutes away from Dallas, Cedar Hill State Park has a set of trails fit for all levels of mountain bikers. One reason riders find the trails so bike-friendly is the cyclists themselves build and maintain them.
This team of Coastal Fisheries experts, along with numerous partners, preserved or created over 12,500 acres of coastal habitats, reclaimed over 4,000 acres of oyster reefs and protected over 12 miles of shoreline, leveraging funds from multiple sources to do it all.
Meet one man who collects antique fishing lures, and another who makes new ones. Discover the evolution of the fishing lure, from bone to plastic and several incarnations in between.
The Lyndon Baines Johnson State Park and Historic Site is all about history, from the visitor center honoring our country’s thirty-sixth president … to a living-history farm depicting life on the farmstead as it was back in 1918, when President Johnson was a young boy.
From elementary schools to high schools, students in Houston are learning about the native prairies of Texas by building pocket-size ones at their school.
A 155-foot freighter was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico as part of Texas Parks and Wildlife’s artificial reef program. The program is designed to turn oil rigs, retired ships and other hard substances into reef habitat for fish. The Kinta S is the largest ship to be reefed since the 473-foot Texas Clipper was sunk 17 miles off South Padre Island in 2006.
On a ranch in South Texas, biologists are tapping the latest technology, and fitting turkey with tiny backpacks, to learn where the turkey lurk. With this data, scientists are gaining a better understanding of the habitat needs and preferences of Rio Grande turkey populations. See how these findings may benefit turkey and all who enjoy them.
Texas Parks and Wildlife photographer Earl Nottingham uses black and white imagery to document the majestic skies associated with the late summer rains that travel across the broad expanses of the Big Bend region of Texas.
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the Civilian Conservation Corps provided jobs for three million young men and helped establish the foundation of the state park system in Texas. Hear the stories of CCC veterans as they reunite in a park they helped build.
Learn how to safely and securely store your hunting firearms at home.
Watch the fireworks as the Battleship TEXAS celebrates 100 years.
We head to Bay City, Texas for a weekend goose hunt with the ladies. For some it’s a first time experience, and for others it’s a weekend break from the family. No matter the reason, if you get a group of ladies together with some guns and geese… it’s going to be a blast.
What do oil companies, conservation organizations, and government agencies have in common? A vested interest in restoring and maintaining the coastal marshes along the upper Texas Gulf coast. Watch how one Texas Parks and Wildlife employee brings these partners together to work towards creating a sustainable future for this critically important landscape.
The Devil’s Sinkhole near Rocksprings is a cavernous wonder. Visitors to the sinkhole can only peer into the abyss from a platform near the edge. Thanks to a crew of geologists and photographers, a 3D virtual map of the cave is in the works, one that will give visitors a unique view of this geologic oddity.
The geographic center of the World Birding Center network is Estero Llano Grande State Park. What was once farmland is now a 176-acre refuge for a spectacular array of South Texas wildlife. The mix of thorn forest and man-made wetlands make it a popular destination for birds and birders.
Watch the clouds go by with some time lapse photography.
Catfish are the largest freshwater sport fish in Texas and are second only to bass in popularity among anglers. They are also quite popular on the dinner table, but for many, the fun is in getting them there.
Some south Texas landowners have turned an overgrazed cattle ranch into a wildlife oasis, inventing a special machine dubbed the “Quailerator” in the process.
Fall is a great time to head outdoors in East Texas. At Martin Creek Lake State Park the fall foliage draws campers, hikers, and anglers, to this heavily wooded park on a 5000 acre lake.
Thanks to one tireless volunteer, work is underway to save the endangered brown pelican. The Audubon Society’s Chester Smith manages Sundown Island in Matagorda Bay. With some hard work and some helping hands, Sundown has become the primary nesting island in Texas for not only pelicans but for seventeen other bird species. Meet the man who has helped bring the pelicans back and see the spectacle of a nesting island in the spring.
Bison babies hanging out at Caprock Canyon State Park.
Our pets aren’t the only cats prowling around urban areas at night. A study is shedding new light on how bobcats live among us, in the suburbs and edges of our cities, without conflict and almost completely without notice.
As a third-generation cattle woman, Ruthie Russell understands the needs of the range as well as those of livestock. Located 60 miles north of Del Rio on the beautiful Devils River, Sycamore Canyon Ranch supports the diverse vegetation and wildlife of three distinct biotic regions. In 2011, Mrs. Russell protected the property with a perpetual conservation easement with the Texas Agricultural Land Trust.
If you’re looking for the best place to camp right on the beach Mustang Island is the spot. With fishing, birding, and ocean fun just a few steps from your tent Mustang Island State Park is sure to cure that Island fever.
See what animals wake up early at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
Ethel was the very first bass in the ShareLunker Program. She became a symbol of how good management and forward thinking could drive conservation efforts to wonderful results. Over the years, millions of people have traveled to see Ethel, only a few were aware of the dramatic events behind Ethel's survival, and because of her survival, the establishment of the ShareLunker Program.
Meet the unsung hero who organizes the events that have educated thousands of Texans about our coastal resources.
With its 1,700 semi-tropical acres, Resaca de la Palma comprises the largest tract of native habitat in the World Birding Center network. Etched by the ancient curves of the Rio Grande River, this state park is a quiet birding retreat on the outskirts of the City of Brownsville.
The Liberty Ships of World War II served our country during a time of need. Today, they’re serving as artificial reefs off the Texas coast, providing habitat for marine life, research areas for scientists, and new opportunities for anglers.
See some squirrels at work in the trees and on the ground.
Sharks are disappearing from the world's oceans at an alarming rate and biologists are worried. From shark finning to unregulated fishing these apex predators are in trouble. We take a look at what’s being done along the Texas coast to help save these wolves of the ocean.
Carry extra water and pack some spare tubes. It’s worth the trouble to hit the trails of Texas’ mountain biking Mecca, Big Bend Ranch State Park.
Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and El Paso don’t seem like the natural habitats of biologists…but these and other Texas cities are home to urban biologists. Meet some big city biologists who strive to help wildlife and urban life coexist in harmony.
Take a dip in Barton Springs. This cool, clear pool is the heart and soul of Austin.
Pronghorn antelope have been roaming Texas grasslands for centuries but herds are experiencing an unexplained decline in west Texas. Scientists join forces with hunters and landowners to solve the mystery of the disappearing pronghorn in this Texas-style CSI.
Lake Tawakoni was built to supply water to the city of Dallas. Occupying almost 400 adjacent acres and with 5 miles of shoreline, Lake Tawakoni State Park offers visitors access to fishing, boating and swimming. And if you are there during the spring, you might get to see giant spider webs constructed by tiny spiders.
Amphibians may be trying to tell us something, and some concerned citizens are listening. At backyard ponds, suburban creeks, and rural wetlands, participants in the Texas Amphibian Watch program monitor the health of frogs and toads, both for science and for fun.
Travel through Texas with a young man making his way cross-country on a handcycle. Being a paraplegic hasn’t handicapped his effort to get out and enjoy a trip across America.
Palo Pinto Mountains State Park won’t be open for several years, but you can see what makes this place special.
Meet Tommy Tidwell, a high school science teacher and part time crappie fishing guide. Tommy spends a lot of time helping anglers learn the finer points of crappie catching. Then there’s Mr. Crappie, Wally Marshall. Everything Wally does revolves around his favorite fish. Everything.
Ok, so now you’ve got some crappie in the boat. It’s time to make ‘em into a tasty meal, frying style. TPWD resident chef Tim Spice shows us how.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin is more than just a place to see wildflowers. It’s also a research and resource center for information on native plants, landscape restoration, and water conservation.
The floating fall leaves of McKittrick Creek in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Just north of Dallas and Fort Worth, the trail system at Ray Roberts Lake State Park offers hours of riding for mountain bikers, from a smooth riverside greenbelt to hilly routes along the lake.
The threat of feral hogs to Texas agriculture and ecology looms large. Hunters and trappers have long aided landowners in keeping wild pig populations in check, but the problem may be growing too fast for traditional means to stop. To provide another tool for farmers and ranchers, research is being conducted that could offer a new kind of protection from this feral pig plague.
What do a fireman, a computer analyst, and a semi-retired private land owner all have in common? The battle for Texas’ independence at San Jacinto, of course. One of the most significant historical events in the westward expansion of the United States took place in an unlikely marsh in south east Texas, now known as the Battle of San Jacinto. Each year hundreds of re-enactors gather to relive this pivotal battle that changed the path of Texas and all of North America.
Is your tackle box a mess? Get some advice on keeping it tidy for that next fishing adventure.
At the end o’ the day, Lake O’ the Pines in Northeast Texas offers good fishing below the dam and a beautiful sunset above.
From short pedals at local parks, to epic journeys through rugged landscapes, mountain biking is a great way to experience the wild side of Texas. And Texas State Parks offer the full range of off-road opportunities to riders of all ages.
Freshwater anglers all across the state look forward to the annual spring run of White Bass. When the conditions are right, the fishing is easy. When the conditions aren’t right, the anglers just have to work a little bit harder.
Shooting sports provide great recreation but remember these simple precautions to protect your precious sight and hearing.
Meet the team behind our hunting and fishing license system, of which 100% of fees go toward on-the-ground conservation efforts in Texas such as habitat management, wildlife research, fish stocking, public hunting opportunities and more.
Take a dip in the cool pool at Bastrop State Park.
There are new paddling trails popping up all over Texas. Grab your canoe and come along as we check out some of the state’s best river trips, on the coast, in Houston, and on the Guadalupe River. All you need is a paddle and an excuse to get wet.
In the heart of the hill country is the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, and here you will find the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. Join some biologists as they monitor these unique birds during their nesting season.
Stop and see why travelers have long enjoyed this birds-eye view of Big Spring. It’s not your traditional state park, but it attracts runners, hikers, and folks who like to see what’s below.
Say What? Knowing the scientific names and watching out for all the native plants in Texas sounds like a daunting job for most folks, but for Texas Parks and Wildlife botanist Jason Singhurst, it’s completely natural.
A group of mountain bikers wind down with some musical instruments after a fun and memorable weekend of riding the scenic trails at Big Bend Ranch State Park.
Built by the CCC in the 1930s, Garner has long been one of the most popular parks in the state, and with good reason. From the spring fed Frio River, to the vast hiking trails, to the summer dances, there is a lot here. That’s why generations of Texans have been making this Hill Country gem the place to be year round.
What can old Texas trees teach us about our climate? One researcher is finding out. Follow him as he taps the secrets of the trees and learns the warnings they may hold for water planners.
Birding has become big in Texas, with the numbers of Texas birders topping 2 million. The Lone Star state has more documented birds than any other state, and some rare beauties that you’ll find nowhere else in North America. So what does it take to get into this hobby? We’ll take a look at some of the basic gear you’ll need, fill you in on where to go, and highlight a way to bring the birds to you.
Get some tips on how to get going as a canoeist. There’s more than one type of canoe, and more than one way to get started.
Enjoy a fall day at Austin’s McKinney Falls State Park.
Texas is the winter home to the largest concentration of Sandhill Cranes in the world. Some spend the winter months in the Panhandle and High Plains while others head for the Texas coast. We’ll visit some of the best spots to see Sandhill Cranes up close to learn more about these migrating wonders.
In some states Sandhill Cranes are known as ‘steaks in the sky’. Yes, you can hunt these big birds, but there are some things you need to be aware of before you shoot.
Visit a park on the edge of East Texas where families find water, woods, and wildlife.
For kids growing up in one of the largest cities in the country, learning about nature can take some doing. See how some Houston residents are making sure kids don’t miss out on the outdoors.
Relax. The water of the Devil’s River moves slowly.
When there’s an oil spill along the coast or down a small county creek the fish and wildlife that live there are often hit the hardest. When it’s time to investigate meet the team of biologists who are called in to action.
When an aspiring nature photographer joins a group of Buffalo Soldier re-enactors, he discovers history’s ultimate outdoorsmen.
Once upon a time, in a Wildlife Management Area far, far away, a group of dedicated conservationists put their skills to work, building special rainwater catchment systems, aka "guzzlers." These magical guzzlers were designed to provide water for bighorn sheep, and any other animal looking for a drink in the desert.
Load up the bikes as we try out some of the newest mountain bike trails at Colorado Bend State Park.
Take in the sunrise along the Trinity River from a different perspective.
People have been climbing rocks since rocks were invented, but college climbing teams are a new thing. Meets some of the students on the national champion University of Texas club climbing team, and see what it takes to excel at this demanding sport.
This West Texas mountain bike festival draws folks from around the world to the trails around Lajitas and Big Bend Ranch State Park. The annual event is a great time for anyone who would like to go fixin’ or freewheelin’ around the old frontier.
Texas shorebirds are in trouble. From the endangered piping plover to the threatened snowy plover, shorebirds in Texas continue to lose habitat as beach development booms. Follow along with some biologists as they work to save these struggling shorebirds.
Get a bird’s eye view of Mason Mountain.
You don’t have to grow up in a family of hunters to enjoy hunting. Meet an Austin man who took up hunting and fishing as an adult, and is determined to pass along these traditions to his sons.
It’s time for some wild game cooking with Chef Jeff Martinez. Jeff introduces us to a new twist on an old favorite, a dove recipe buffalo style.
The west Texas desert may look harsh but its unique plants are like nature’s grocery store for the wildlife and humans who call the desert home. At first glance scrubby, thorny and spindly, Big Bend plants take on new beauty when you learn how to read them.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a park of immense beauty, but it also was the site of a historic battle. While the general facts about the 1874 Battle of Palo Duro Canyon are known, specific details are not. That is until now. Archeologists working hand in hand with Indian tribe elders are putting the pieces together. See what it takes to unearth artifacts from a battle that took place over a hundred years ago, and learn more about Palo Duro Canyon State Park and the historic battle that took place there.
Get up eye to eye with some Texas gators.
We’re celebrating with special episodes.
The Texas Parks & Wildlife series on PBS is made possible in part by a grant from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Additional funding is provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.